California’s onerous new ammunition regulations haven’t even gone into effect yet, and gun stores are already wondering whether they’ll be able to sell ammo when the new background check requirement kicks in.
Last year Californians voted in favor of Proposition 63, a measure that institutes background checks for all ammunition purchases and requires sellers to obtain an “ammunition vendor license.” The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018.
The California Department of Justice (DOJ) was supposed to have solidified in July the process for obtaining such a license. But they failed to do so. They submitted the proposed regulations three days ago (December 1), which, as the NRA-ILA points out, doesn’t give ammunition vendors enough time to apply for and obtain a license before the law takes effect.
Even if the Golden State bureaucracy expedites the approval process, ammunition dealers will still not have enough time to get the state’s permission to sell ammunition. Unless the state extends the deadline, 6 million firearms owners in California might not have access to ammunition after the beginning of the new year.
Online sales aren’t an option as out-of-state vendors begin halting direct sales to customers in California.
Texas-based Defender Outdoors announced last month that it will cease direct online sales to California residents on December 17, 2017. Calling Prop. 63 a “whole new level of government oversight,” Defender Outdoors will only ship ammunition to licensed vendors, who may not even be able to receive it for another several months.
Law-abiding Californians also won’t be able to bring in ammunition from another state. As the law expressly prohibits such action. Failure to comply with Prop. 63 will result in a misdemeanor.
The inability of vendors to obtain a permit by the new year isn’t the only problem with the law. The NRA-ILA notes several flaws in the sections of Prop. 63 that deal with ammunition.
It isn’t clear, for example, for how long ammunition licenses will be valid. The proposed regulation says that “the term of an ammunition vendor license is from January 1 through December 31. Regardless of the date of the initial license is issued.” This directly contradicts California law, which says that the license will be valid for “a period of one year.”
The regulations also don’t clarify whether ammunition stored behind the counter is permissible under the law. The law stipulates that the ammunition must be stored in such a way that requires the assistance of an employee. As the NRA-ILA points out, ammunition is often stored behind the counter in open shelving. This setup would seem to comply with the law. But the California DOJ hasn’t said one way or the other.
Whether or not California gets their act together before the January 1 deadline, now is the time for gun owners in the Golden State to invest in reloading equipment.